Change Team hits road to take temperature of homelessness
A team of experts with personal and professional experience of homelessness is touring Scotland to find out what’s happening in services against a backdrop of unprecedented housing pressures.
The All in For Change team will hold free events in Aberdeen, Greenock, Falkirk, Kirkcaldy and Clydebank on the Taking the Temperature National Roadshow – where they will hear about local issues and solutions before sharing their findings with the Scottish Government.
The team want to meet and learn from frontline workers and people who have experienced homelessness as well as local authority staff, managers and councillors.
And they are keen for people working in health, social care, social work, addiction and criminal justice to come along – the events are open to anyone who can share their insights.
Prevention is a key theme of the roadshow, as new duties in the upcoming Housing Bill will require the wider public sector to intervene earlier to stop people becoming homeless. The Change Team played a key role in developing the ‘Ask and Act’ duties.
Housing supply and use of temporary accommodation are also up for discussion at the free informal events in February and March.
The team is made up of people who know what homelessness looks and feels like through lived or frontline work experience. Homeless Network Scotland and Cyrenians facilitate All in For Change, which is funded by the Scottish Government and Frontline Network.
Change lead Viki Fox has experienced homelessness and is now policy and participation manager with Cyrenians.
She said: “We are really excited to be hosting our second national roadshow. When I started with the Change Team back in 2019, the roadshows were a key focus as we really wanted to talk to, and learn from, others living and working within the homeless sector throughout Scotland.
“Contexts and challenges are very different in each area and it is important that we hear this and can feed it back to the Scottish Government.
“During the pandemic, we were doing this online, but nothing beats meeting people in person and having the opportunity to learn from each other.
“Having experienced homelessness myself and now working for Cyrenians, I know that using this knowledge and hearing about what is working well in different localities is invaluable if we are to end homelessness in Scotland.”
Suzie McIlloney, rapid rehousing transition plan officer at South Ayrshire Council, is also a member of the Change Team.
She said: “We must listen and really hear what people are telling us through their experiences of homelessness. The Roadshows offer an opportunity for further insight into where we can do better but also what worked well.
“Travelling in the direction of being trauma-informed and trauma-responsive, we need to remind ourselves that when facing uncertainties, people need caring and compassionate connections.
“I got involved with the All in For Change Team because I see the value in bringing policymaking and lived experience together to drive forward real change.
“The more opportunities we have to work closer together, the better the outcomes are for people, services, and communities.
“People thrive off hope, purpose and connection and we can often overlook the significant role communities play in this. I believe everyone should have a place of their own to call home, it is the foundation for people to thrive and live well.
“There is an appetite for change so let’s not lose momentum.”
Paul McLennan, minister for housing, said: “Since taking up office, I’ve met with many Housing Convenors across the country to hear about the issues in their area, but these are only views from one perspective.
“I’m interested to hear from people with lived experience and frontline workers, particularly in relation to the barriers they encounter.
“As we prepare to introduce new homelessness prevention duties, I want to know what people have been through and what works in preventing homelessness from happening in the first place. I’m glad to see the roadshow locations include some more rural communities.
“I’m looking forward to joining the Change Team in Kirkcaldy and hearing some peoples’ experiences first hand.”
The Roadshow events are in five Housing Options Hubs covering local authorities including Aberdeenshire, Inverclyde, Fife, Falkirk and West Dunbartonshire.
The Team will be at Aberdeenshire Council HQ (in Aberdeen) on Tues, 20 February, Greenock on Thursday 22 February, Kirkcaldy, Fife on Tues 5 March, Falkirk on Thurs 7 March and Clydebank on Thursday 14 March.
The Team will also use the Roadshow to hear evidence of whether the 4 New Directions they have developed to reduce homelessness have been adopted – and where there are barriers.
The directions, designed to help achieve the aims of the Scottish Government Ending Homelessness Together action plan, include co-ordinating services so people don’t have to keep repeating their story when looking for support, and overturning outdated stereotypes of homelessness.
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